Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crew Preview No. I: Black and Gold Stand Pat but with Two Choice Exceptions

By El Chupa

The staff at Nordecke Luchador are hard at work preparing our pre-season rankings in spite of the impending, righteous and highly justified strike by MLS players.  We back the players 150% and blame the unimaginative, unenlightened, unethical and dishonest hacks in the league office at the International House of Soccer for the impasse.

But let's pretend the season IS really about to begin.  Here's a cursory overview of what we've noticed thus far.

A quick look here (free registration may be required and scroll down to the latest post) and you'll notice that no team made fewer off-season moves than did the Crew.  The two pickups they did make are impressive.

Sergio Herrera is a journeyman International Columbian who has bounced around but--and no propaganda, wishful thinking, or bullshit here--should bring experience and solid striking skills up front. We think he is more than capable of replacing Moreno. Moreno produced only 12 SOG in 22 games with four goals in 2009.  These numbers are respectable but Herrera is more-than-capable of the same contribution if not more.

Super Draft pick Dilly Duka (coolest name ever? Or goofiest name ever? Discuss...) is a young talent who is a US U-20 international and just the type of young player teams should be scouting and acquiring to build for the future.  The Crew showed last year that should Big Willy (um, "Guillermo" is Latinate for "William") go down or be limited in appearances due to age, the team needs a midfield creator.  Replacing Willy is too much to expect from Duka, who has yet to play a minute in a regular season MLS game. But it's nice to know the team is looking to the future in acquiring Duka, who could have gone much higher than 8th in the first round of the Super Draft.

We also have to admit that El Chupa, for one, was rather pessimistic about the Crew's chances against Tolouca, a tough Mexican club in mid-season form.  Their strong showing (admittedly at home against a team hailing from a country whose natives apparently are incapable of playing well in "arctic" central Ohio in freaking March) suggests strongly that the suits upstairs may have made the right decision to essentially stand pat this off season, giving the team's established players, starters and reserves alike, a chance to gel further.  If Lenhart and Rogers continue to mature and develop as we think they should, the Crew should again be extremely competitive.  Last year's late-season meltdown will hopefully not repeat itself this year.  And Crew loyalists can and should expect nothing less than a shot at both the Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup.  We'll break down the team's numbers in a separate post.

In the meantime, remember the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." 


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